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Students learn in new settings this fall

Tea Area students kicked off the school year Aug. 25.

Superintendent Jennifer Lowery said the first day of school went well with everybody getting to school and back home safely. This fall students and teachers are getting used to school without classes in stick buildings.

“They’re not using the stick buildings. The stick buildings are being utilized for storage for extra desks and different things like that,” Lowery said. “For the first time, we’re not using any stick buildings for classrooms and we don’t have alternative storage purchased around town.”

Legacy Elementary construction wrapped up at the end of the school year last year. Now, about 680 students in junior kindergarten through fourth grade occupy the space. Frontier Elementary at the north end of the district has just under 100 students in junior kindergarten through fourth grade.

The intermediate building that housed third through sixth graders last year now houses almost 600 students in fifth through eighth grade. The building will continue to say intermediate school until there is time to change the sign to middle school.

Last year at the high school, students in eighth through 12th grade occupied the space along with stick buildings. This year about 450 students in ninth through 12th grade will learn in classrooms within the high school.

These estimated numbers will be confirmed later in September, but Lowery said the district is about 1,690 total students. That number is up from 1,608 students last year and more than their projected 1,650.

“We’ve had growth of about 15 students at Frontier … every classroom is in use there,” Lowery said. “We have had more than expected growth at Legacy and our class sizes are full and there’s not a room available at Legacy.”

Lowery chalks up the growth in the district to more families moving into the district or building homes in the district. The school board is working with a realtor to look at options as the district continues to grow.

As the school year gets underway, Lowery reminds parents that attendance is important to student success. The state department of education and the governor are stressing the importance of student attendance.

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